Imagine you’ve decided to take that next step and open your own business. Or, perhaps you are simply looking to advance your career by building your brand in your industry. Regardless of which situation you are in, you will not be able to get where you want to go on your own. Networking with people in your chosen field will help you move forward.
It will take connections you have made to make this dream happen. This is where effective networking enters the picture. But, how does one network? How do you even get started? To answer these questions, make sure you take a look at the 5 steps for effective networking that are listed below.
Step One: Set your Goals
Start by setting up goals for yourself. For example, are you looking to learn more about your industry or develop contacts? Answering these questions will help you determine which groups of individuals will work best with your networking needs.
Step Two: Choose the Right Groups
You should always have a handful of networking groups you are a part of. To determine which groups are the best for you, visit a variety of them before deciding to join. Look for leaders that appear to know the business and members who are active and share your interests. To find groups, take a look at sites that offer entrepreneur conference listings or opportunities to network, like Meetup.com.
Step Three: Develop Questions
Before meeting with your groups, develop questions you wish to ask members you are networking with. Make sure the questions you ask are open-ended ones. This helps you develop conversations with people rather than receive only yes or no answers.
Step Four: Stay Visible
After you have found groups that really help with your networking goals, make sure you are staying visible to the other members. With any group of people, it’s easy to disappear into the background. Instead of falling into this trap, work at being involved with the group. Volunteer for different leadership roles and stay as active as possible.
Step Five: Be Real
The most important thing to remember when you are networking is that you need to be authentic and real with the contacts you come across. Work on developing real, honest relationships where you can build trust and help others.
These five steps will help you get started in the world of professional networking. If you are looking to improve your status, career or business, make sure you apply them today.